It is a beautiful thing - the ability to truly honor a veteran who has served their country upon the event of their passing. The rendering of military funeral honors for a deceased veteran is a service that is mandated by law and provided free of charge to the eligible veteran's family. In Alabama and elsewhere, military funeral honors can be requested by a family through their funeral director. From there, the funeral director will contact the appropriate military branch to arrange the funeral honors detail.
Of course, a family of a deceased veteran must first ensure that their loved one is eligible. In order to receive military honors, the deceased must be a member of one of the following: A military member on active duty or in the Selected Reserve; former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable; former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable; and former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
In order to verify eligibility for military honors, a family is required to fill out DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This form is available online through the National Archives. However, if the form is not available, any discharge document showing anything other than dishonorable service can be used to begin the process.
A further discussion will be held in a future article regarding what military funeral honors entails and what you can expect to see at a deceased veteran's funeral service. If you are interested in learning more about military honors for your loved one, please contact one of our trusted funeral directors.